Influences of sire conception rate on pregnancy establishment in dairy cattle†
Biology of Reproduction
Establishment of pregnancy in cattle is complex and encompasses ovulation, fertilization, blastocyst formation and growth into an elongated conceptus, pregnancy recognition signaling, and development of the embryo and placenta. The objective here was to investigate sire influences on pregnancy establishment in cattle. First, 10 Holstein bulls were classified as high or low fertility based on their sire conception rate (SCR) value. In a field trial, pregnancy at first timed insemination was not
... semination was not different between high and low SCR bulls. Next, 5 of the 10 sires were phenotyped using in vitro and in vivo embryo production. There was no effect of SCR classification on in vitro embryo cleavage rate, but low SCR sires produced fewer day 8 blastocysts. In superovulated heifers, high SCR bulls produced a lower percentage of unfertilized oocytes and fewer degenerated embryos compared to low SCR bulls. Recipient heifers received three to five in vivo produced embryos from either high or low SCR sires on day 7 postestrus. Day 16 conceptus recovery and length were not different between SCR groups, and the conceptus transcriptome was not appreciably different between high and low SCR sires. The reduced ability of embryos from low SCR bulls to establish pregnancy is multifactorial and encompasses sperm fertilizing ability, preimplantation embryonic development, and development of the embryo and placenta after conceptus elongation and pregnancy recognition. These studies highlight the importance of understanding genetic contributions of the sire to pregnancy establishment that is crucial to increase reproductive efficiency in dairy cattle. Summary Sentence The sire influences preimplantation embryonic development and postelongation establishment of pregnancy in dairy cattle.